2018 15" MacBook Pro (RP555) [8th,6C,H] + RX Vega Nano @ 32Gbps-TB3 (VisionTek Mini eGFX) + macOS 10.14.4 & Win10 1809 [itsage]
Last week Newegg had the PowerColor RX Vega 56 Nano Edition on sale for $349. The GPU arrived today and I wasted no time installing it in the VisionTek Mini eGFX enclosure. This eGPU build is one I have been waiting for over a year to put together. I first saw the TUL mini eGPU prototype + mini-ITX RX Vega at CES 2018. This pairing was never released and not officially supported due to the 240W power adapter. Here are some unboxing photos of the Vega Nano.
In order to power the RX Vega 56 Nano edition inside the VisionTek Mini eGFX, I needed a 6-pin to dual 6+2-pin PCIe splitter. Given the 45W Power Delivery and Thunderbolt 3 component overhead, it’s about 180W max available to the GPU. To make sure it’s running stable, I’d recommend connecting the 87W AC adapter to the host so that more power is available to the graphics card.
2018 15″ MacBook Pro – i7-8750H/Iris 630 iGPU & Radeon Pro 555X dGPU/16GB RAM/256GB SSD
In macOS 10.14.4 Beta 3, it was plug-and-play. I tested all four monitor output ports and they worked well (2x DisplayPorts to HP 5K, 1x DisplayPort to LG 4K, and 1x HDMI to LG 4K).
In Windows Boot Camp, it is now possible to accelerate the internal display with an AMD eGPU. The prerequisites are DDU and BootCampdrivers.com modified 19.2.2 drivers. Mat at BootCampdrivers.com recently merged the Apple Radeon dGPU drivers into the main Adrenalin drivers. This allows both Radeon Pro dGPU and RX Vega 56 eGPU to use one set of drivers.
Here’s the summary of my setup and on-going usage procedure if you’d like to replicate:
- Install Windows 10 via Boot Camp Assistant and complete Apple driver installation.
- Download modified Radeon drivers from Bootcampdrivers.com.
- Run DDU (included in modified drivers) to remove Apple Radeon drivers.
- Disable Windows auto-installation of new devices then install modified Radeon drivers.
- Restart MBP after Radeon driver installation completes but do not connect AMD eGPU.
- Hot-plug AMD eGPU once MBP boots to the Windows Desktop.
- Open Device Manager for AMD eGPU (should be yellow-banged by error 12 at this point).
- Go to Devices by Connection then right-click the AMD eGPU to Uninstall.
- Leave the AMD eGPU connected and restart the MBP.
If all goes according to plan the next boot should have both AMD dGPU and AMD eGPU working as well as the internal display. This procedure (last four steps) requires one restart in Windows to get AMD eGPU and internal display going but it’s well worth it. Please let me know if you have success with it.
There were several crashes when I ran Valley at 4K without the MacBook Pro‘s 87W AC adapter. Once I set Wattman to Auto Undervolt with the AC adapter plugged in, the setup ran without issues.
In order to use the Vega Nano eGPU to accelerate the 2018 15″ MacBook Pro‘s internal display, I specified each app to use the High Performance GPU in Windows 10 Graphics Settings. Here are Unigine benchmarks comparing internal display mode vs direct external monitor mode.
|Internal Display||FHD External Monitor||QHD External Monitor||4K External Monitor|
Here are 3DMark results through direct external monitor mode.
The total price for this Vega Nano + VisionTek Mini eGFX build is $700. It costs the same as the Blackmagic eGPU [Radeon Pro 580] but performs like the Pro version [RX Vega 56]. You don’t get the Titan Ridge controller or Thunderbolt 3 monitor output. What you get is a $500 savings and a second Alpine Ridge TB3 controller for expansion port stability.
wow nice work. can't remember titan ridge vs alpine ridge benefits but seems like an incredible savings over blackmagic's (apple approved) egpu offerings.
@esatamacmodular Titan Ridge controller enclosures can interact with both Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C hosts. For example the Blackmagic eGPU can work with a 2017 MacBook which only has USB-C port. All functionalities except the external graphics card would work. When paired with a Thunderbolt 3 Mac, everything would work. Alpine Ridge controller enclosures on the other hand can only interact with Thunderbolt 3 hosts.
@tsakal I will try the Vega Nano in the Gigabyte Gaming Box soon. There are successful reports on this particular pairing already if you were wondering. The Gaming Box has one 6+2-pin PCIe power cable so we need a power splitter similar to this VisionTek Mini eGFX. There’s more headroom in terms of power with the the Gaming Box though.
I took a photo of the R9 Nano next to this Vega Nano. They seem to be using identical cooling fan. The heatsink and cooling fins on the Vega card is longer and beefier to handle more heat. The matte black shroud is metal which is hard to tell from pictures. Overall it’s a very hefty card for its small size.
thank you , looking forward to it.
With the mbp drawing power from the apple charger the 450w of the gaming box should be enough to drive the nano. Does the nano have dual bios or just single one?